[FBCYA] The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Howdy y’all! Last April, our Fanboy Book Club Book of the Month was a book that I found to be refreshingly engrossing what with such an unusual concept and subject that most books usually don’t revolve around. It is:

 

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

 

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This happened to be my first read from Maggie Stiefvater and also my first read about equestrian creatures. Simply put, it was about deadly horses and equally deadly horse racing of which did not fall short on giving us an epic and beautiful storyline.

 

To discuss it more in detail, however, the book is much more than horses and horse racing, as opposed to what the title may lead us to believe. I found that it goes much deeper than that: it’s about being connected with your roots, embracing it, and loving it. The two main characters, Sean Kendrick and Puck Connoly, perfectly exhibit this. Judging from what you may read in the book, there is nothing more that these two will love than being with their horses and staying in the island that has watched them grow, Thisby. I especially like how much they love the horses and the island so much that it’s almost impossible for a reader not to feel the same way. I may be speaking for myself – But then again, maybe not. 😉

 
Despite being a book the Fanboy Book Club has picked, I am thoroughly pleased having read some undertones of feminism in the text. It was shown in several scenes of which occur because the men competing in the Scorpio Races believe that the races are no place for a mere girl like Puck.

 
It was delineated very well in the story with Puck keeping her stand with letting her, girl, compete in the Scorpio Races despite practically everyone in the island telling her to quit and she showed that just because she’s a girl doesn’t mean her opportunities are limited. As I have always said, I feel quite frustrated with how society dictates that girls should only do girl things and boys should do boy things when both sexes are very much capable of doing anything if they set their mind to it.

 
In the book, these pestilent water horses are called capaille uisce. The very facts that they are bloodthirsty and deadly are what makes the locals afraid and tremble before them. But despite this, they still admire the capaille uisce for their beauty, speed, and strength. Corr, being one himself, embodies how things could be monstrous and beautiful at the same time; how you could still love something that has potential to lead you to your demise or utter happiness; how much you can love and connect with your roots, no matter how complex and daunting it may seem.

 
The race itself was swift and vivid. As I read it, visualizing the race wasn’t hard and it made it easier to immerse myself in the book. Although it didn’t last long as others have expected it to, I couldn’t think how it could have been executed more perfectly.

 
And let me just put it out here that I most especially appreciate that finally, we got to read a romance that did not ruin the book but even made it better. The blossoming affection between Sean and Puck was there but it didn’t go in the way of what the story wanting to push for. Most fantasy books tend to lean more on the romance and forget the action-filled aspect of the book. It did not happen here and it makes me so happy.

 
Overall, the story was well-paced and so beautifully written that by the end of the book you’ll want more capaille uisce, more Thisby, more ocean, more Scorpio Races. With all these said, I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Thanks for reading! Til the next post 💙

 

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SARAH J. MAAS PH BOOK SIGNING

Howdy y’all! Last month, I just had the best day of my life when I finally met my favorite author, Sarah J. Maas.

** Thank you so much to Sarah’s team, Bloomsbury, National Bookstore, Louisse Ang and every single person who made this event possible. You guys fulfilled my dream. (Even until now I still feel like it was a dream. Somebody pinch me.)

THANK U CRIES

 

THE TRAVEL

March 13 was a Sunday and since I wasn’t from Manila (I’m from Bicol, in a little town called Pili), I had to leave at 8 on Saturday morning, to make it to Manila and eventually camp out. It took me roughly 14-15 hours to reach Manila (we could have arrived about 3 hours earlier but traffic happened so) and all the while those hours were a mix of anxiety, excitement and worry. I felt so anxious to see the very person who inspires me with her books and created such a huge impact in my life. As cheesy as this may sound, I started believing in myself ever since I read the line “I will not be afraid” in Throne of Glass.

On Saturday noon, I was constantly checking updates on twitter and saw that there were already people camping out that very moment. I panicked. Slots were only limited and I was getting worried I might not make it. Updates were tweeted all throughout the day so you could already imagine how anxious I was.

We finally arrived at Manila around 11 on Saturday evening. But we were still at Cubao where a family friend offered for us to stay while we were there. (My family came along even though I told them they didn’t have to.) So I quickly washed up, *barely* ate dinner – I couldn’t eat much because of too much excitement – prepped myself as best as I could, and left for Glorietta 1, where the book signing would take place.

 

CAMPING OUT

I arrived there at a quarter before 12 and practically walk-ran to the very end of the line. I was 96th. I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding. Ha ha. Cliches aside, I instantly felt literal relief when I knew I was still part of the first hundred.

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This sign was placed right beside where I sat waiting so I decided to take a picture with it. LOL

It was my first time attending a book signing event and my first time camping out as well. It was such an awesome experience! Discussing bookish theories and other books to fangirl over while waiting in line with some people I just met felt like the animal inside me was finally unleashed.

EVENT PROPER

A few hours before the actual event, I got to know more readers and I couldn’t be any happier. And of course, ship wars were an inevitable topic: Celorian, Chaolaena or Rowaelin. And I must say, being a Chaolaena shipper myself, I’m pretty proud with how strong we still are despite our sunken ship. And just to get it straight, I ship Chaolaena and *occassionally* Rowaelin because I consider Celaena and Aelin as two different people, which Sarah has emphasized in several of her interviews and in her books.

I remember checking the clock and realizing it was already 1:54 in the afternoon and started counting down the minutes til I finally see Sarah. The anticipation at the bookstore was so palpable you could literally feel it. The crowd started cheering their ships, and conveniently most of the Rowaelin shippers were on the other side while Celorian and Chaolaena shippers were on the other.

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My hands were shaking so hard at this point and they were so cold and I kept looking at my card to check whether the signing pass was still there

When the emcee entered the venue, the screams and cheers were crazy and just when you thought it couldn’t be any crazier, Sarah finally entered and all screaming hell broke loose. And let me tell you, my eyes lined with silver the moment I saw her. Even just thinking about it makes me cry. I felt like I reached reader heaven.

When Q&A came, a million questions streamed in my head but zero words came out from my mouth. Even though I wasn’t able to ask her anything, I had the book signing to look forward to, plus the questions asked were way better than what I could have asked so. 😅

I “patiently” waited for my turn in the signing, I mean I was only 96th and when you’re nervous and excited at the same time, you’ll wonder where all that time went. And then it was my turn.

When she saw my name, she told me that our names were almost alike (my first name and her last) and I couldn’t breath for a moment because all that’s going in my head was she’s actually in front of me — she’s talking to me oh my gosh — she’s so pretty — what do you say to your literary hero???

MY EMOTIONS

I just blabbered how thankful I was of her for creating characters like Celaena and Feyre who inspire me every day. And she was so nice for signing all my books and she wrote my name in all of them because of how long I travelled just to see her. I said she didn’t have to but she insisted.

She’s an angel. 💖 I know how exhausted she must be, too, but she’s so selfless, very much like Feyre. I told her I couldn’t believe this was really happening and until now I really can’t. It still hasn’t sunk in.

*This is me shamelessly fangirling in front of Sarah. I was probably already embarrassing myself in front of her but I didn’t mind – I don’t even know what I’m saying here.*

And now this is me when I was internally trying to calm down so I could go home with a picture with her where I actually looked okay.

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And I got to meet the amazing person behind the ThroneofGlassPh twitter account, Louisse.:D

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I’m sorry this post is very long but I just really had the time of my life that day and I’m happy to share it with you. 💖

Thanks so much for reading! Til the next post 🙂

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JANUARY WRAP UP + FEBRUARY TBR

Howdy y’all! Before anything else, I’m sorry for a poor blogging performance this month. I took a hiatus just after the first week of January because of a lot of things happening of which I’ll leave it at that.

Basically, January had no chill. My academic life was in one of its busiest times in a long while and I had difficulty balancing my reading time with the time I needed to dedicate on certain academic things. Now, on to bookish stuff:

January’s book tally is 6 books read! Not a bad start for the year considering I only read 4 books last January 2015.

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My True Love Gave To Me by various authors

12 short stories compiled into one Christmas-y, light and happy read. That is how I would describe this book. It became my companion through my post-holiday hangover days, and a good one at that. Each of the 12 stories are feel good and are easy reads that you could fly through. I even take all the free time I could possibly get and read on because I didn’t want to stop. It was too good and I wanted to stay in that happy reading place. This book contains a lot of relatable and cutesy stories you’ll want to read.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

I don’t even know where to start with this one, but if I were to describe this is one phrase it would probably be that this has been an emotional roller coaster ride kind of read for me and I love it. I love this trilogy despite the different reviews and opinions there are about this. They say this is the kind of trilogy that’s either a hit or a miss. Although I would concede to the fact that Bardugo has quite a descriptive way of telling her stories, I didn’t have a problem with it nor did I feel bored whilst reading it. This is the last book in the trilogy and as much as I didn’t want it to be over, I had to read on. I cried a lot, I chuckled, I became more attached with the characters, I lost count on how many times I gasped, and so much more! Full review to come.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I buddy read this book with a bunch of other awesome people on twitter and it was a really fun experience and a great way to interact with other people you didn’t know before. This book had its ups and downs for me being that there were some parts of which I felt that it was kind of similar to some of the YA Fantasy novels I have read before and that it was already cliche. The romance didn’t work here for me but this didn’t bother me either since this isn’t a love story. Despite having several commonalities with many books out there, there were still a lot of distinctive traits I was happy to read about. I love the premise of how people are divided and classified and how betrayal became the vital part of how the plot went, and the like. Full review to come.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟.5

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Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Going into this book, I wasn’t aware that this book was yet another Christmas-y one. The snow on the cover probably already suggests so but I somehow overlooked that and made presumptions of my own which turned out to be far from what you can read in this book. I thought that Lily and Dash were childhood friends who decided to give dares to each other like running across the street screaming “help!” or something, at an ordinary day. Incorrect presumptions aside, I enjoyed this book a lot. It delves more on friendship and love of which I find is suited just right for the main characters. This book could be enjoyed by all, so when in doubt, leave it to Dash and Lily to make your day better!

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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One Night At The Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori

I received a review copy of this book because I joined a blogging project called Backlist Revival Project which aims to promote novels and stories made by our fellow Filipinos. This genre is different from what I usually prefer to read, however I found myself eager to read this book and eventually enjoyed it in the end. It’s also a bit common for stories like this to come with predictability but I think ONATPH delves into topics that a lot of people could relate with especially with the premise of finding love, losing it, and finding it again in unconventional ways you never thought of. Full review here.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟.5

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Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Confession: I am actually still reading this but I decided to include this in this month’s wrap up since I have managed to read about 50% before the month ended. So far, I’m very intrigued of what will happen next and how certain people will transition back from how we came to know them from the first book. We also get to be introduced to new characters here of which some identities are gasp inducing, at least in my case. I’ll write a full review about this when I finish reading it.

My rating *so far*: 🌟🌟🌟

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So that’s it for my January Wrap-Up. Here are books I plan to read this February:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

 

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How about you? How was your January? What books do you plan to read this month? 🙂

Thanks for reading. Til the next post! x

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BOOK TALK: THE LOST HERO BY RICK RIORDAN

Howdy ya’ll! Today, we’re reviewing:

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THE LOST HERO BY RICK RIORDAN

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The Lost Hero, the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series, takes place a year after the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, following the same scheme of things, basically: Demigods are found, they go to Camp Half-blood, and they go on a quest and all sorts of crazy breaks loose. And of course, Rick Riordan never disappoints with his epic storytelling of adventures, not to mention giving you fits of laughter while you read page after page.

The story follows the stories and Jason, Piper, and Leo.

Jason doesn’t have a clue what’s happening when he mysteriously wakes up on a school bus boarding students from the Wilderness School. There he meets Piper, who appears to be his girlfriend, and Leo, his best friend. His friends tell him he must have had amnesia for not remembering them and acting so weird. Everything feels strange and unfamiliar to Jason.

Piper, on the other hand, seems to be hiding something from Jason and Piper. A dream that has been haunting her three nights ago – a dream she can’t confide anyone in. Right by the time she has those dreams, her father, a famous actor, disappears. In her dreams, she is being asked of a huge favor and she’s not happy about it.

Then we have Leo – the jokester of the three; the man who knows his way with tools. He believes nothing is unfixable and that’s exactly what he does. He’s very good with constructing and building things and has no problem getting his hands dirty with a little machine oil. There’s something to be bothering him over the years, though. Spirits? Ghosts? Lost souls?

Things start to go wrong when a storm hits them on their field trip and this is where things about who they really are and what they’ll come to face comes into play. It turns out there’s more than meets the eye when Mother Nature decides to unleash her powers on earth. This fiasco leads them right to Camp Half-Blood.

Here they go on a dangerous quest and get to know each other more and how their circumstances are more connected than what they have expected.

What are my over-all thoughts of the book? (spoiler free)

If there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s that this book is epic and it’s hilarious. The adventures our characters go through and the monsters they go up against are epic. It actually makes me regret I wasn’t into Greek mythology as I am now because of Rick’s books. But even if you weren’t you’d learn so much about the different myths as you read further.

Rick’s way of incorporating these gods, both minor and major, in the book are shown in a fun and interesting way. Despite the gods and goddesses’ downfalls, you’ll eventually find yourself laughing and utterly amused of this creative storytelling – I know I was.

This book is different from the previous series because Roman gods and goddesses are now taken into light. I won’t say much so as not to spoil any of you, but in this book, we’ll get to know deeper about the Greek gods and goddesses and their Roman counterparts and also how they differ from each other, but are still similarly alike – if that makes sense (which it will once you read the book).

And being this is the first book, you have to expect a major cliffhanger. And yes, it makes you wanna pick up the next book, Son of Neptune, immediately and delve yourself in their world once more. I’d recommend this book to those of you who’d like a good laugh and adventures in books. And also, regardless if you like Greek Mythology or not, you’re gonna love it.

*SPOILER BORDER! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK YET, GO READ IT AND THEN COME BACK AFTER. SEE YA :D*

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My honest opinion is that I like this book very much, but I love Lightning Thief better. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve read it first and I’m more acquainted to the books in the previous series? But of course, I’ll expect to have my socks blown off as I read further into the series. I know I’ll be reading even more epic and funny adventures especially since I’ve heard so many reviews and comments from different people saying that Heroes of Olympus is better. We’ll just have to see J

Firstly, I thought it was awesome to see Leo claimed by Hephaestus and Piper claimed by Aphrodite. I wasn’t surprised with Leo since he knew a way with tools, neither with Jason who was claimed by Zeus, but Piper? Piper’s mom was a shocker. But it works, I guess. She’s tried so hard not to be pretty but turns out she is. Very pretty, actually.

Looking back on the scenes and highlights in the book, I’d say Leo Valdez is my favorite character. He’s really funny and nice and has a soft side to him, his vulnerable side. I kept on saying “no” to him (well, technically to the book) every time he says things in the likes of “Leo knew when he wasn’t wanted” and stuff like that. It made me want to reach into the book and give him a hug and tell him he’s not alone. It also kind of makes him more relatable because I think we all have that side to us that’s afraid of being alone and feel like the third wheel with others. But the great thing about him is, he just brushes it off and he just makes hilarious jokes (especially when he’s teasing Coach Hedge or Butch, Iris’ son). One highlight of the book that made me laugh the hardest was when in one of their battle scenes, Leo tries to summon fire and he was like “I can’t summon anymore gas.” Then he thinks “Wow that came out wrong.”

*cue me chuckling for about an hour or so. Thank you, Rick.*

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The first time we meet Annabeth after their encounter with the storm spirits, I was so happy since she was my favorite character in the PJO series. But my heart sunk when I read that Percy was missing.

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About Leo’s, Piper’s and Jason’s dreams though, or should I call them nightmares? Was it only me who thought Hera is creepy as fudge. When Leo described her wearing a widow’s dress and a black shawl, I swear I imagined a black lady. It scared the bejeebers out of me. Plus the fact that she was Leo’s former baby sitter WHO TRIED TO KILL HIM? Yeah, I thought, definitely a black lady. Yeah, yeah, I know she’s a goddess but I can’t stop thinking about her as a black lady.

While we’re on this subject, during the first pages where we learn Leo’s mom died, I had a feeling it was because of him. It turns out I was right – on the literal sense. But technically, it was Hera the black lady’s fault.

Jason, on the other hand, discovers that Thalia is his brother when he sees a picture of her back in Cabin One, Zeus’s cabin. And family don’t fall short for the Leo and Piper either. Leo misses his mom and Piper has daddy issues.

On their quest: I was so happy that Leo got to fix the dragon and name him Festus. It really took a great role in their quest. They got to meet king Midas, Medea, and Enceladus (which still reminds me of Enchiladas) and most importantly, Jason got reunited with Thalia.

They were in this cave being circled by a pack of wolves, led by Lycaon, and it really seemed like they were fighting a losing battle until the very first silver arrow was shot, I literally was like HECK YES ARTEMIS’S HUNTERS. I LOVE THEM.

The last place of their quest was in Mount Diablo or the Devil Mountain and I was really nervous when Piper and Leo were still trying to break Hera free from the cage and Jason battled Enceladus by himself. I was on the edge of my seat til finally, finally, Hera was out and she shone like there was no tomorrow and obliterated the enemies and left the giant running. It was an unsettled fine, but it would be enough.

When they return from their quest to the camp, Percy is still missing. Annabeth and Jason finally put the pieces together and concluded that Percy and Jason got were in each other’s places. Jason Grace is the son of the Roman god, Jupiter, that was why he had the roman tattoo on his arm. If Jason, son of Rome, had woken up to be on the Greek gods and goddesses’ land, Percy woke up on the Roman’s. Greek and Romans hate each other.

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Theories for next book:

I think we’ll get to read some points in Percy’s view, how we handled being under Roman demigod laws or whatever you call them. And I think part of the seven will be found (I don’t think they’ll all be found at once in the next book alone). I have a feeling that Nico, son of Hades, would be one of the seven in the prophecy and also Jason’s friend, Reyna, since I felt a ring to her name when she was mentioned in the book. Of course, I’ll expect more monsters, more dangerous ones at that and an unsettled Olympus, perhaps? The war between the Olympians and Gaea isn’t over just yet.

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Feel free to share your thoughts with me in my other social media accounts! 😀

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